How Successful Dispensaries Operate Intentionally to Drive Revenue Growth

Camille Demere
Embarc cannabis dispensary storefront in Fresno, California, illuminated by bright sunlight with a clear blue sky backdrop

The intensifying cannabis market landscape means that every dollar, whether earned or saved, plays a crucial role in a dispensary's success. For dispensaries to truly excel, it is vital to operate with intentionality and adopt strategies that consistently drive revenue growth. This week, we delved into the success strategy of Treez customer and California operator, Embarc. After slingshotting from 2 to 8 locations in about 3 years, Embarc has learned a thing or two about what works in the headiest times and the hardest times in cannabis.

Treez dug deep into operational efficiency, community presence, discounting strategies, inventory mix and the importance of profit with the duo at the helm of Embarc, Lauren Carpenter, CEO and co-founder and Dustin Moore, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer.

Dustin Moore and Lauren Carpenter of Embarc, sharing wisdom at Treez webinar How Successful Dispensaries Operate Intentionally to Drive Revenue Growth

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Key Strategies for Revenue Growth

  1. Data-Driven Decision Making: Clean and accurate data is the backbone of informed decision-making. By harnessing their data, Embarc makes more informed decisions about product offerings, discounting strategies, and marketing campaigns.
  2. Margins and Profit Focus: Embarc credits their revenue growth and success in difficult markets to using metrics that are more nuanced than top-line sales or basket size. They use Average Order Profit as a north star to intentionally increase revenue and have trained their staff on the value a high margin transaction brings in.    
  3. Defined Experimentation Parameters: Embarc delved into their philosophy that thriving in the cannabis industry is both a science and an art. To provide a consistent experience across store locations, they decide about 80% of their SKUs at the corporate level. To trial newer SKUs or brands and find products that fit into new or different markets, they experiment locally with about 20% of their shelf space.    
  4. Customer Experience: Embarc prioritizes the customer's experience both in-store and online. By offering a variety of shopping options, like Buy Online Pick Up in Store, they foster loyalty and encourage repeat visits.
  5. Leveraging Technology for Efficiency: Embracing technology has significantly reduced manual labor at Embarc, ensuring smooth operations. Treez's robust POS system, integrated payments, automated reporting, and analytics capabilities have empowered Embarc dispensaries to optimize workflows and reduce their operational costs.
  6. Strategic Partnerships and Discounting: Embarc has achieved remarkable growth by strategically defining their discounts to support brand partnerships, instead of racing to the bottom with competitors. By offering daily best pricing in addition to brand partnership discounts, Embarc entices customers to spend more overall without cutting into its margins. 
  7. SKU Count: From Embarc’s perspective, there’s no hard and fast rule of how many SKUs must be carried, but there is an upper limit. When determining SKU count for a store, they take into account the region, customer type, and consumer preferences. 
  8. Community Engagement and Building Local Ties: Embarc's deep-rooted community and civic engagement, plus localized product offerings have positioned them as an admired entity in the cannabis industry. This community-centric approach has helped them build a loyal customer base and positive sentiments in each California city they operate in. 

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